Skip to main content

View Diary: The best book this cycle (212 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Ignoring the center.... (none)
    Chait describes Lakoff's approach as "ignoring the center", which, as one of the center, I think is accurate.

    I first heard about Lakoff at the JREgrassroots.org forum where his ideas have been discussed for several months.  Link:

    http://www.jregrassroots.org/jre/viewtopic.php?t=663&highlight=

    The idea of countering the blatant manipulation of the GOP with equally blatant manipulation from the DNC does not appeal to me.  

    Maybe it's the strong rationalist in me but I would rather promote honest discussions of the issues and the worldviews of all sides rather than encouraging simple-mind "frames" and increasing the revenues of PR and marketing firms.  

    Frames are what make Orwellian tactics possible.  Why can't we instead find some way of forcing the candidates to treat voters with courtesy, respect and honesty -- like adults and by appealing to our enlightened self-interest by enlightening us rather than manipulating us.

    •  The Mythical Center (none)
      Lakoff is "ignoring the center" only because (and in the sense that) there is no such animal in cognative science sense. He's simply reporting what he's found by studying the use of language, and he hasn't found any consistent language of the center.

      Lakoff does have a lot to say about people in the center, however, which makes this claim simply false.  Some of the things he says are: (1) That people use different family models in different areas of their lives, and (2) often apply them episodically or semi-consistently. (3) That there are both principled and pragmatic versions of both models, and the pragmatic versions of both can appear as different flavors of "moderates." (4) That people in the middle care about issues which both sides do battle over, but that the way to do this successfully is to reinforce and connect with the core frame. Conservatives know this, which is why they are more effective among swing voters even when their policies are a mess--such as Bush's version of a perscription drug benefit.

      Finally, you should check out 30 years of polling by the General Social Survey, which shows that even a majority of self-identified conservatives supports stable or increased funding of a wide range of "liberal" spending programs. When it gets down to pragmatic-level decisions, the center in American politics is decided to the left of the establishment political spectrum.  This represents a huge disconnect in electoral politics.  In terms of policy positions, the "center" is actually somewhere out there in the vicinity of Dennis Kucinich.

      The Structure of Lies In A Land Without Silence--Let's put the information back in the information age!

      by Paul Rosenberg on Mon Sep 20, 2004 at 12:01:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Kucinich and Nader... (none)
        I took the Political Compass test and ended up just slightly left and slightly libertarian of center.  The political candidate closest to me according to them was Nader.  Fine with me, I agree with most of his positions.  I also like a lot of what Kucinich campaigned for.

        I guess my objections to Lakoff are that he is pointing the left in the same direction the right has already taken.  I don't like the right spinning frames.  Why would I like it any better coming from the left?

        I want to break the media filter that makes this kind of framing (spinning) the only thing getting through.  

        Andrew Card said outright that Bush thinks of us as 10 years olds. Why encourage that kind of thinking as Lakoff does?

        •  Please Read The Book! (none)
          In fact, read all his books.  You will have a much better understanding of his ideas than you can possible get in any other way.

          The reason that we are losing is precisely because of this sort of thinking:

          "I guess my objections to Lakoff are that he is pointing the left in the same direction the right has already taken.  I don't like the right spinning frames.  Why would I like it any better coming from the left?"

          There are two problems here.

          (1) This assumes that there is some form of unvarnished truth, free from any sort of frame.  Like it or not, this is just simply not true. Lakoff is a cognitive scientist. He studies human cognition. And this is one of the most solid findings of cognitive science--there is no thinking that is free of a cognitive frame.  Lakoff even co-wrote a book that examines the cognitive frames in mathematics. If you can't get free of frames in mathematics, well, forget about politics free of frames.

          The idea of pure knowledge, untainted by human interest or bias, is indeed tantilizing.  But it is an illusion.  And this is what you are insisting on--a politics of illusion, simply because it is a comforting illusion.  (And, like most comforting illusions, it leads to no good. This was Plato's illusion, if you recall--the rule of those who were capable of grasping pure knowledge--in effect, a chilling dictatorial vision.)

          (2) It ignores the real alternate.

          Does all the above mean we have to be just like Republicans? Not at all.  We put out our frames to challenge theres. And we invite people to look at both frames side-by-side. Try each one on. See which of them makes more sense to you. By comparing frames, we are creating a more sophisticated and comprehensive political discourse.

          You are assuming that frames can only be used in one way--to deaden thought. But by presenting people with two (or more) frames that present things differently, the exact opposite is possible--a much richer range of political thought.

          The Structure of Lies In A Land Without Silence--Let's put the information back in the information age!

          by Paul Rosenberg on Mon Sep 20, 2004 at 02:39:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site